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Futures Slide After Dismal Target Earnings, Plunging Mortgage Apps

Futures Slide After Dismal Target Earnings, Plunging Mortgage Apps

The brief bear market rally in US stocks was set to end with a whimper…

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Futures Slide After Dismal Target Earnings, Plunging Mortgage Apps

The brief bear market rally in US stocks was set to end with a whimper following Tuesday’s strong dead cat bounce, after Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave his most hawkish remarks to date. Hope that China lockdowns would soon end turned to skepticism, as the yuan slumped after its biggest gain since October, while dismal guidance from Target - which warned that inflation was crushing margins - confirmed what Walmart said yesterday, namely that the US consumer is running on fumes. An 11% plunge in the latest weekly mortgage applications only reaffirmed that a hard-landing is inevitable and just a matter of time. Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 1%, while S&P 500 futures slipped 0.7% after US stocks surged on Tuesday. Treasury yields hit session highs, rising back to 3.0%, and the dollar snapped a three-day losing streak. Bitcoin got hammered again, sliding back under $30k.

Among the biggest premarket movers, Target crashed 22% with Vital Knowledge calling its margin shortfall “more dramatic” than what Walmart posted on Tuesday, citing industry-wide macro problems. The retailer reduced its full-year forecast on operating income margin to about 6% of sales this year. It also reported first-quarter adjusted earnings per share that came in below expectations. Food and gas inflation is drawing money away from discretionary and general merchandise spending, forcing “aggressive” discounting to clear out product in the latter category, Vital’s Adam Crisafulli said in a note.

Elsewhere in US premarket trading, Tesla slipped 1% after its price target was cut at Piper Sandler. Meanwhile, Twitter Inc. also traded slightly lower even as the social media platform’s board said it plans to enforce its $44 billion agreement to be bought by Elon Musk. Here are some other notable premarket movers:

  • US tech hardware stocks may be in focus as Jefferies Group LLC strategists have turned bullish on the likes of IBM (IBM US), Cisco Systems (CSCO US) and Microchip Technology (MCHP US) after this year’s steep declines for US information technology shares
  • National CineMedia (NCMI US) shares jump as much as 33% in US premarket trading after AMC Entertainment (AMC US) reported a 6.8% stake in the cinema advertising company. AMC shares gain 1.2% in premarket trading.
  • DLocal Ltd. (DLO US) shares gain as much as 15% in US premarket trading after the Uruguay-based payment platform posted 1Q revenue that doubled from the year-earlier period and topped expectations.
  • Doximity (DOCS US) shares fall as much as 19% in US premarket trading, after the online healthcare platform provider’s forecast for 1Q revenue missed the average analyst estimate, prompting analysts to slash their price targets on the stock.
  • Penn National (PENN US) may be active on Wednesday as Jefferies raised the recommendation to buy from hold. The company’s shares rose 4% in premarket trading.

On Tuesday, Powell said the Fed will keep raising interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation is in retreat, which initially pushed stocks lower but then was faded as risk closed near session highs as nothing Powell said was actually new. The S&P 500 is emerging from the longest weekly slump since 2011 as investors have been gripped by fears of hawkish monetary policy and surging inflation driving the economy into a recession. As also discussed yesterday, Bank of America’s survey published yesterday showed that fund managers are the most underweight equities since May 2020 and are piling into cash.

“This is one of the most challenging markets I have been in in my career,” Henry Peabody, fixed income portfolio manager at MFS Investment Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “I suspect at a certain point of time we’re going to have the liquidity of the markets challenged. They really haven’t been thus far.”

As the Fed embarks on interest-rate hikes, frothy growth shares, including the tech sector, have suffered in particular as higher rates mean a bigger discount for the present value of future profits. This marks a major shift in investor outlook after tech stocks had been some of the market’s best performers for years.

“Investor sentiment and confidence remain shaky, and as a result, we are likely to see volatile and choppy markets until we get further clarity on the 3Rs — rates, recession, and risk,” Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, wrote in a note.

Rebounds in risk sentiment are proving fragile amid tightening monetary settings, Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s Covid lockdowns. In what’s seen as his most hawkish remarks to date, Powell said that the US central bank will raise interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation is in retreat.

“We’ll have this kind of volatility as people jump in and look at opportunities to buy as markets decline,” Shana Sissel, director of investments at Cope Corrales, said on Bloomberg Television, referring to the Wall Street bounce. The Fed is going to struggle to achieve a soft economic landing, she added.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was little changed, with energy stocks outperforming. Spain's IBEX outperformed, adding 0.5%. ABN Amro slumped almost 10% after the Dutch lender reported first-quarter results burdened by rising costs.  The Stoxx Europe 600 Basic Resources sub-index drops, underperforming other sectors in the broader regional benchmark on Wednesday as base metals ended a three-day rebound and as iron ore declined. Base metals paused a recovery from this year’s lows, with copper and aluminum stalling after hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Iron ore futures declined as investors weighed China’s faltering economy and the prospect of support measures amid a mixed outlook for steel demand. Basic resources index -0.6%, halting three days of gains; broader benchmark little changed. Siemens Gamesa jumped as much as 15% as Siemens Energy weighs a bid for the shares of the troubled Spanish wind-turbine maker it doesn’t already own. Here are the most notable movers:

  • European oil and gas stocks rise amid higher crude prices and broker upgrades, while renewables rallied after Siemens Energy confirmed it was considering a buyout offer for Siemens Gamesa. Shell gains as much as 1.8%, BP +1.8%, Equinor +3.4%, Gamesa +15%, Vestas +7.7%
  • Air France-KLM shares rise as much as 7.5% in Paris on news that container line CMA CGM intends to take a stake of up to 9% in the French carrier following the signing of a long-term strategic partnership in the air cargo market.
  • Rockwool shares gain as much as 8.3%, most since Feb. 15, as the company boosts its sales in local currencies forecast for the full year.
  • British Land shares rise as much as 4.2%, as the company’s results show a strong recovery and a good performance in the UK landlord’s portfolio, analysts say.
  • Vistry shares climb as much as 8% with analysts saying the UK homebuilder’s trading update looks positive, particularly the robust momentum in its sales rate.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Basic Resources sub-index drops, underperforming other sectors in the broader regional benchmark on Wednesday as base metals ended a three-day rebound and as iron ore declined. Rio Tinto slips as much as 1.5%, Antofagasta -2.7%, Anglo American -1.5%
  • Prosus shares fall as much as 4.2% and Naspers sinks as much as 6.7% after Tencent reported first- quarter revenue and net income that both missed analyst expectations.
  • TUI shares drop as much as 13% in London after the firm announced an equity raise in order to repay a chunk of government aid that helped see it through the coronavirus crisis.
  • ABN Amro shares declined as much as 11% after the lender reported 1Q earnings that showed higher costs related to money laundering.
  • Experian shares fall as much as 5.1% after the consumer-credit reporting company reported full-year results, with Citi saying organic growth missed consensus.

Meanwhile, UK inflation rose to its highest level since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister 40 years ago, adding to pressure for action from the government and central bank. The pound weakened and gilt yields fell as traders speculated that the Bank of England will struggle to rein in inflation and avoid a recession.

Elsewhere, the Biden administration is poised to fully block Russia’s ability to pay US bondholders after a deadline expires next week, a move that could bring Moscow closer to a default. Sri Lanka, meantime, is on the brink of reneging on $12.6 billion of overseas bonds, a warning sign to investors in other developing nations that surging inflation is set to take a painful toll.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced for a fourth session as strong US economic data allayed worries about the global growth outlook, while Chinese equities slipped. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index rose as much as 1%, extending its rebound from an almost two-year low reached last Thursday. Materials shares led the gains, with Australia’s BHP Group climbing 3.2%. Benchmarks in most markets were in the black, with Indonesia, Taiwan and Singapore chalking up gains of at least 1%.  Upbeat retail sales and industrial production data from the US underpinned sentiment, so much so that investors barely reacted to hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. He indicated that policy makers won’t hesitate to raise interest rates beyond neutral levels to contain inflation.

Equities in China bucked the trend. Property shares paced the drop after data showed the decline in China’s new home prices accelerated in April, while tech shares also lost steam ahead of Tencent’s earnings which missed expectations and slumped. Local investors may be underwhelmed by a lack of details from Chinese Vice Premier Liu He’s fresh vow to support tech firms. Liu said the government will support the development of digital economy companies and their public listings, in remarks reported by state media after a symposium with the heads of some the nation’s largest private firms.

Lee Chiwoong, chief economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, said Liu’s comments point to an easing of the crackdown on internet firms. “The Chinese government is stepping up measures to support the economy following the slowdown,” Lee said.  “As bottlenecks stemming from lockdowns in Shanghai ease, that impact will gradually show up in the economy,” Lee added. “We should be able to clearly see an economic recovery in the second half of this year.”

Japanese equities gained as investors assessed strong US economic data and comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on the outlook for interest rate hikes.  The Topix Index rose 1% to close at 1,884.69. Tokyo time, while the Nikkei advanced 0.9% to 26,911.20. Sony Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix gain, increasing 2.9%. Out of 2,172 shares in the index, 1,345 rose and 749 fell, while 78 were unchanged. Chinese stocks erased losses intraday after earlier disappointment over a much-anticipated meeting between Vice Premier Liu He and some of the nation’s tech giants. Overnight, data showed US retail sales grew at a solid pace in April, while factory production rose at a solid pace for a third month.

Australia's stocks also gained, with the S&P/ASX 200 index rising 1% to close at 7,182.70, extending its winning streak to a fourth day. Miners contributed the most to its advance. All sectors gained, except for consumer staples and financials. Eagers slumped after saying that its 1H profit will be lower than it was a year ago and flagged reduced new vehicle deliveries. Wage data was also in focus. Australian wages advanced at less than half the pace of consumer-price gains in the first three months of the year, reinforcing the RBA’s signal that it will stick to quarter-point hikes.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.1% to 11,258.28

India’s benchmark equities index fell, snapping two sessions of gains, weighed by declines in engineering company Larsen & Toubro Ltd.    The S&P BSE Sensex dropped 0.2% to close at 54,208.53 in Mumbai, after rising as much as 0.9% earlier in the session. The NSE Nifty 50 Index fell 0.1% to 16,240.30.  Larsen & Toubro slipped 2% and was the biggest drag on the Sensex, which saw 17 of its 30 member stocks decline. Sixteen of 19 sectoral sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. dropped, led by a gauge of realty shares.   State-run Life Insurance Corporation, which debuted Tuesday, rose 0.1% to 876 rupees, still below the issue price of 949 rupees. In earnings, of the 34 Nifty 50 firms that have announced results so far, 20 have either met or exceeded analyst estimates, while 14 have missed. Consumer goods company ITC Ltd. is scheduled to announce results on Wednesday.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed an early loss and the greenback advanced versus all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen. The pound was the worst G-10 performer, tracking Gilt yields lower and paring the previous day’s gains. A widely expected jump in UK inflation prompted investors to pare back bets on BOE rate hikes. Money markets are pricing around 120bps of BOE rate hikes by December, down from 130bps from the previous day. UK inflation rose to its highest level since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister 40 years ago, adding to pressure for action from the government and central bank. Consumer prices surged 9% in the year through April. The euro fell for the first day in four and weakened beyond $1.05. The Bund curve has twist flattened as traders bet on a faster pace of ECB tightening after Bank of Finland Governor Olli Rehn said there’s broad agreement among members of the Governing Council that policy rates should exit sub-zero terrain “relatively quickly.” That’s to prevent inflation expectations from becoming de- anchored, he said. The Aussie swung between gains and losses while Australia’s bonds trimmed earlier declines after a report showed wage growth last quarter was less than economists forecast. The wage price index climbed an annual 2.4% last quarter, trailing economists’ expectations and coming in well below headline inflation of 5.1%. The yen rose as US yields declined amid fragile risk sentiment. Japanese government bonds were mixed, with a decent five-year auction lending support while an overnight rise in global yields weighed on super-long maturities.

In rates, Treasuries were under pressure, though most benchmark yields remained within 1bp of Tuesday’s closing levels. 10-year yields rose just shy of 3.00%, higher by less than 1bp with comparable bund yield +3.3bp and UK 10-year flat. TSY futures erased gains amid a series of block trades in 5- and 10-year note contracts starting at 5:20am ET, apparently selling flow. According to Bloomberg, six 5-year block trades and two 10-year block trades -- all 5,000 lots -- have printed since 5:20am, apparently seller-initiated as cash yields concurrently rebounded from near session lows. Wednesday’s $17b 20-year new-issue auction at 1pm ET may also weigh on the market. 20-year bond auction is this week’s only nominal coupon sale; WI yield ~3.37% exceeds all 20-year auction stops since then tenor was reintroduced in 2020, is ~27.5bp cheaper than last month’s result. Elsewhere, the UK yield curve bull-steepened with the short end richening ~5bps, while pound falls after inflation surged to a four-decade high. Money markets pare BOE rate-hike wagers. Bund curve bear-flattens while money markets bet on a faster pace of ECB tightening after ECB’s Rehn said the central bank needs to move quickly from negative rates.

In commodities, WTI trades within Tuesday’s range, adding 1.6% to around $114. Most base metals are in the red; LME tin falls 1.5%, underperforming peers, LME aluminum outperforms, adding 1%. Spot gold is little changed at $1,815/oz.

Looking to the day ahead now, and data releases include the UK and Canadian CPI readings for April, along with US data on housing starts and building permits for the same month. Central bank speakers include the Fed’s Harker and the ECB’s Muller. Earnings releases include Cisco, Lowe’s, Target and TJX. Finally, G7 finance ministers and central bank governors will be meeting in Germany.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.5% to 4,065.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.2% to 438.11
  • MXAP up 0.8% to 164.43
  • MXAPJ up 0.7% to 539.81
  • Nikkei up 0.9% to 26,911.20
  • Topix up 1.0% to 1,884.69
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 20,644.28
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,085.98
  • Sensex up 0.3% to 54,469.39
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.0% to 7,182.66
  • Kospi up 0.2% to 2,625.98
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.03%
  • Euro down 0.4% to $1.0505
  • Brent Futures up 1.5% to $113.66/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.0% to $1,815.04
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.33% to 103.70

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Sweden’s biggest pension company has begun buying government bonds amid a “paradigm shift” in the market that pushed yields to their highest level since 2018. The CIO views Treasuries as “quite attractive” after a prolonged period of razor-thin yields that forced the company into alternative and riskier asset classes to preserve returns across its $117 billion portfolio
  • While outright China bulls may be hard to find, shifts in positioning at least point to improving sentiment. Bearish bets on stocks are being abandoned in Hong Kong, expectations for yuan volatility are falling, domestic equity traders have stopped unwinding leverage and foreigners have slowed their once-record exit from government bonds
  • The EU is set to unveil a raft of measures ranging from boosting renewables and LNG imports to lowering energy demand in its quest to cut dependence on Russian supplies. The 195 billion-euro ($205 billion) plan due Wednesday will center on cutting red tape for wind and solar farms, paving the way for renewables to make up an increased target of 45% of its energy needs by 2030, according to draft documents seen by Bloomberg that are still subject to change

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed as the regional bourses only partially sustained the momentum from global peers. ASX 200 was led higher by outperformance in the mining and materials related sectors, while softer than expected wage price data reduced the prospects of a more aggressive RBA rate hike next month. Nikkei 225 briefly reclaimed the 27,000 level but retreated off its highs as participants digested GDP data which printed in negative territory, albeit at a narrower than feared contraction. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were subdued with large-cap tech stocks pressured in Hong Kong including JD.com despite beating earnings expectations and with Tencent bracing for the expected slowest revenue growth since its listing, while the mainland was hampered by the mixed COVID-19 situation as Shanghai registered a 4th consecutive day of zero transmissions outside of quarantine, although Beijing was said to lockdown some areas in its Fengtai district for 7 days.

Top Asian News

  • Shanghai authorities issued a new white list containing 864 financial institutions permitted to resume work, according to sources cited by Reuters.
  • China, on May 20th, is to remove some COVID test requirements on travellers to China from the US, according to embassy.
  • China's Foreign Ministry says the BRICS foreign ministers are to meet on May 19th.
  • Goldman Sachs downgrades its 2022 China GDP growth forecast to 4.0% from 4.5%.

European bourses are rangebound and relatively directionless, Euro Stoxx 50 U/C, taking impetus from a mixed APAC session which failed to sustain US upside. Stateside, futures are modestly softer and a firmer Wall St. close; ES -0.2%. Limited Fed speak due and near-term focus on retail earnings. Tencent (0700 HK) Q1 2022 (CNY): adj. net profit 25.5bln (exp. 26.4bln), Revenue 135.5bln (exp. 141bln). Lowe's Companies Inc (LOW) Q1 2023 (USD): EPS 3.61 (exp. 3.22/3.23 GAAP), Revenue 23.70bln (exp. 23.76bln). SSS: Lowe's Companies: -4.0% (exp. -2.5%); Lowe's Companies (US): -3.8% (exp. -3.7%). -0.2% in the pre-market

Top European News

  • UK Chancellor Sunak is reportedly mulling bringing forward the 1p income tax cut to the basic rate by one year, according to iNews citing Treasury insiders. Other reports suggest that Sunak is putting plans together to raise the warm home discount by hundreds of GBP in July ahead of lowering taxes in autumn to assist with the cost of living crisis, according to The Times.
  • EU is to offer the UK new concessions on the Northern Ireland protocol but has threatened a trade war if UK PM Johnson refuses to agree to a compromise, according to The Telegraph.

In FX

  • Sterling slides to the bottom of the major ranks as fractionally sub-forecast UK CPI dampens BoE rate hike expectations; Cable reverses from just over 1.2500 to sub-1.2400, EUR/GBP nearer 0.8500 after dip below 0.8400 only yesterday.
  • Hawkish Fed chair Powell helps Buck bounce ahead of US housing data, DXY towards the upper end of 103.770-180 range.
  • Aussie hampered by softer than expected wage metrics that might convince the RBA to refrain from 40bp hike in June, AUD/USD heavy on the 0.7000 handle.
  • Yen relatively resilient in wake of Japanese GDP showing less contraction in Q1 than feared, USD/JPY closer to 129.00 than 129.50.
  • Euro loses momentum irrespective of comments from ECB’s Rehn echoing Summer rate hike guidance as final Eurozone HICP is tweaked down, EUR/USD fades from 1.0550+ to test support around 1.0500.
  • Loonie treads cautiously before Canadian inflation metrics as oil prices come off the boil, USD/CAD back above 1.2800 within 1.2795-1.2852 range.

In Fixed Income

  • Gilts sharply outperform as UK CPI falls just shy pf consensus and dampens BoE tightening expectations.
  • 10 year UK bond rebounds towards 119.50 from sub-119.00 lows, while Bunds lag below 152.50 and T-note under 119-00.
  • Record high cover for 2052 German auction and low retention sets high bar for upcoming 20 year US offering.

Central Banks

  • ECB's Rehn says June forecasts are seen near the adverse scenario from March, first rate increase will likely take place in the summer. Many colleagues back stance for quick moves.
  • ECB's de Cos says the end of APP should be finalised early in Q3, first hike shortly afterwards. Further rises could be made in subsequent quarters of medium-term outlook remains around target; the build-up of price pressures in EZ in recent months raises the likelihood of second-round effects, which have not strongly materialised.

In commodities

  • WTI and Brent are modestly supported after yesterday's lower settlement; currently, firmer by just over USD 1.00/bbl.
  • Focus has been on the narrowing WTI/Brent spread, particularly going into US driving season; see link below for ING's views.
  • US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude -2.4mln (exp. +1.4mln), Cushing -3.1mln, Gasoline -5.1mln (exp. -1.3mln), Distillates +1.1mln (exp. unchanged).
  • Spot gold and silver are modestly firmer but capped by a firmer USD, yellow metal just shy of USD 1820/oz.

US Event Calendar

  • 07:00: May MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 2.0%
  • 08:30: April Building Permits MoM, est. -3.0%, prior 0.4%, revised 0.3%
  • 08:30: April Housing Starts MoM, est. -2.1%, prior 0.3%
  • 08:30: April Building Permits, est. 1.81m, prior 1.87m, revised 1.87m
  • 08:30: April Housing Starts, est. 1.76m, prior 1.79m

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Another reminder of my webinar replay from last week discussing our recession call for 2023 and an update on credit spreads. In it I said that while we have high conviction that HY spreads would be +850bp in H2 2023, the outlook over the next few weeks and months may actually be positive from this starting point. I would say I am nervous of that view but I still don't think that the real economic pain comes until deeper into 2023 when the lagged impact of an aggressive Fed starts to bite. Click here to view the webinar and to download the presentation.

Good luck to Glasgow Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt in tonight's Europa League final. These are not teams that any would have expected to reach this final and I will watch with stress free divided loyalties. My father's family were all from the former and supported Rangers while the latter play at the fabulously named Deutsche Bank Park. So good luck to both. I suspect I'll be less stress free in 11 days' time when Liverpool are out for revenge against Real Madrid in the Champions League Final. At the moment I’m feeling nervously optimistic.

Talking of which, investor optimism has returned to markets over the last 24 hours as more positive data releases raised hopes that the US economy might be more resilient in the near-term than many have feared. The economic concerns won't go away, but stronger-than-expected numbers on retail sales and industrial production helped the S&P 500 (+2.02%) close at its highest level in over a week. Remember monetary policy acts with a lag and it would be very unusual historically if the data rolled over imminently. By this time next year it will likely be a very different story.

The higher yield momentum was reinforced by a Powell speech after Europe went home but there was a steady march of slightly hawkish central bank speakers through the day. Before we review things keep an eye out for UK CPI just after this goes to press. The headline rate is expected to be a huge 9.1%. Expect a lot of headlines reporting of 40 year highs.

With regards to Powell, most in focus was his claim that policy rates would rise above neutral if that was required to tame inflation. While the sentiment was not necessarily new, his explicit comment that neutral rates are “not a stopping point” garnered focus, noting that the Fed was looking for “clear and convincing evidence” that inflation was subsiding. The rates market have already priced terminal policy rates above the Fed’s estimate of neutral, but a combination of the risk on, and stronger data meant that equities could go up alongside yields.

Earlier in the day we got a smattering of communications from Fed regional Presidents, none of which registered as materially but it reinforced the direction of travel after a month to date where markets have repriced the Fed lower. Indeed, even resident hawk, St Louis Fed President Bullard, reiterated Powell’s message in that the Fed was on course for 50bp hikes at the upcoming meetings and said that “I think we have a good plan for now”.

Sovereign bonds had already sold off significantly ahead of all that Fedspeak, aided by the broader risk-on tone yesterday, but continued drifting higher through the US session. Yields on 10yr Treasuries closed +10.4bps to a one-week high of 2.99%, driven by a +7.9bps rise in real yields to 0.24%. The moves were more pronounced at the front-end however, and the 2yr yield rose by a larger +13.1bps as investors priced in a more aggressive path of hikes over the next 12 months after data showed the economy was performing stronger than the consensus had anticipated. In terms of the headlines, retail sales were up by +0.9% in April (vs. +1.0% expected), but the growth in March was revised up to +1.4% (vs. +0.5% previously). Retail sales excluding autos and gas were up by +1.0% as well (vs. +0.7% expected), whilst the industrial production number was another that came in above expectations at +1.1% (vs. +0.5% expected).

Europe also had a large move in yields, which followed comments by Dutch central bank Governor Knot who became the first member of the Governing Council to openly float the idea of a 50bp hike. Although he said that “my preference would be to raise our policy rate by a quarter of a percentage point”, he said that “bigger increases must not be excluded” if data were to show inflation “broadening further or accumulating”. So even though he’s one of the more hawkish members of the council, that’s still a significant milestone in that larger moves are being openly discussed, and echoes what we saw with the Fed at the turn of the year when the policy trajectory became increasingly aggressive.

Market pricing reflected that shift yesterday, and for the first time overnight index swaps were pricing in that the ECB would hike by more than 100bps by their December meeting and thus catching up with the DB House View. That growing belief behind additional hikes led to a fresh selloff in sovereign bonds, with those on 10yr bunds (+10.9bps), OATs (+10.5bps) and BTPs (+11.7bps) all moving higher. The biggest moves were seen from gilts (+15.0bps) however, which followed data that pointed to an increasingly tight labour market in the UK, and overnight index swaps nearly doubled the probability of a 50bp rate hike from the BoE in June, with the odds moving from 17% on Monday to 33% yesterday.

Over in equities, stronger risk appetite led to a significant rebound yesterday, with the S&P 500 (+2.02%) hitting a one-week high, whilst the NASDAQ (+2.76%) saw an even larger rebound in spite of the simultaneous rise in yields. Walmart (-11.38%) was by far the worst performer in the S&P, which came as it cut its earnings per share forecast, which it now expected to decrease by 1%, relative to previous guidance that expected it to rise by the mid single-digits. But that was the exception, and every sector except consumer staples moved higher on the day, with the more cyclical areas leading the advance. Over in Europe the STOXX 600 (+1.22%) posted a strong performance of its own, bringing its advance to more than +5% since its recent closing low just over a week ago.

Overnight in Asia, performance in regional stock indices is diverging partly on the back of economic data. Japan’s Q1 GDP (-1.0%) contracted less than expected (-1.8%), lifting the Nikkei (+0.50%) this morning. In China, though, rising covid cases and waning optimism about government’s support of tech companies weighed on the Shanghai composite (-0.37%) and the Hang Seng (-0.66%). New home prices (-0.30%) in the country also slid for an eighth month in a row. This slight souring of sentiment has extended to S&P 500 futures (-0.23%) with the US 10y yield edging back lower by -2.2bps.

Elsewhere, tensions over Brexit ratcheted up again yesterday after UK Foreign Secretary Truss announced plans to introduce legislation that would override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Truss said that the UK’s preference “remains a negotiated solution with the EU” and that the bill would contain an “explicit power to give effect to a new, revised Protocol if we can reach an accommodation”, but that “the urgency of the situation means we can’t afford to delay any longer.” Unsurprisingly the EU did not react happily, and Commission Vice President Šefčovič said in a statement that if the UK moved ahead with the bill, then “the EU will need to respond with all measures at its disposal.”

Staying on the UK, the latest employment data out yesterday pointed to an increasingly tight labour market, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.7% in the three months to March (vs. 3.8% expected), which is the lowest it’s been since 1974. Furthermore, the number of vacancies was larger than the total number of unemployed for the first time, and the more up-to-date estimate of payrolled employees in April saw an increase of +121k (vs. +51k expected). Elsewhere in Europe, the latest estimate of Euro Area GDP growth in Q1 showed a bigger than expected expansion of +0.3% (vs. +0.2% previously).

Elsewhere the chances of a Russian sovereign debt default increased, following the Treasury department confirming a temporary waiver that allowed Russia to pay US creditors would expire on May 25. Meanwhile, the US is reportedly considering a tariff on Russian oil in conjunction with European allies, as the saga about banning imports to Europe drags on.

To the day ahead now, and data releases include the UK and Canadian CPI readings for April, along with US data on housing starts and building permits for the same month. Central bank speakers include the Fed’s Harker and the ECB’s Muller. Earnings releases include Cisco, Lowe’s, Target and TJX. Finally, G7 finance ministers and central bank governors will be meeting in Germany.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/18/2022 - 07:51

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Bitcoin nears worst monthly losses since 2011 with BTC price at $19K

Bitcoin price action will seal monthly losses over 40% for the first time in 11 years if it closes at $19,000.
Bitcoin (BTC) drifted…

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Bitcoin price action will seal monthly losses over 40% for the first time in 11 years if it closes at $19,000.

Bitcoin (BTC) drifted further downhill into the June 30 Wall Street open as United States equities opened with a whimper.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

U.S. dollar returns to multi-decade highs

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView followed BTC/USD as it abandoned $19,000 to hit its lowest in over ten days.

Bulls failed to preserve either $20,000 or $19,000 at the hands of limp U.S. stock market moves, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index down 1.8% and 2.6% respectively at the time of writing.

At the same time, the U.S. dollar once again staged a comeback to fix a trajectory toward twenty-year highs seen this quarter.

The U.S. dollar index (DXY) was above 105.1 on the day, coming within just 0.2 points of its highest levels since 2002.

U.S. dollar index (DXY) 1-day candle chart. Source: TradingView

"The US dollar (DXY) looks set to test highs last seen in December 2002 as the short-term downtrend is broken convincingly amid risk markets' continued crumble," researche and trader Faisal Khan summarized on Twitter.

Data on inflation meanwhile once more suggested the worst could be behind the market.

As Cointelegraph reported, however, central banks began to acknowledge that the low rates seen before COVID-19 may never return.

Bulls' worst month in 11 years

With the majority of on-chain metrics now at historic lows, price data hinted how far BTC could theoretically go in a bear market increasingly unlike the rest.

Related: No flexing for Bitcoin Cash users as BCH loses 98% against Bitcoin

Should it close at current levels of $19,000, BTC/USD would seal monthly losses of over 40% for June 2022.

That would make it the worst June ever and the heaviest monthly losses since September 2011, data from TradingView and on-chain monitoring resource Coinglass confirms. 

Even March 2020 and the 2018 and 2014 bear markets were less severe on monthly timeframes. 40% drops were last seen when BTC/USD traded at $8.

BTC/USD monthly returns chart. Source: Coinglass

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Stocks, Cryptos Tumble To Close Out Catastrophic First-Half

Stocks, Cryptos Tumble To Close Out Catastrophic First-Half

It was supposed to be a 7% ramp into month-end on billions in pension fund residual…

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Stocks, Cryptos Tumble To Close Out Catastrophic First-Half

It was supposed to be a 7% ramp into month-end on billions in pension fund residual buying.

Instead, it ended up being more or less the opposite, with crypto-led liquidations dragging futures and global markets lower, and extending Wednesday losses after central bankers issued warnings on inflation and fueled concern that aggressive policy will end with a hard-landing recession, which increasingly more now see as being 2022 business, an outcome that now appears assured especially after yesterday's disastrous guidance cut from RH, the second in three weeks!

Recession fears and inflation woes may be prolonged by today's PCE deflator report. The consumer price gauge favored by the Fed may have picked up to 6.4% last month from 6.3%. Personal income growth probably edged up but Bloomberg Economics highlights an anticipated decline in real personal spending as a major worry.

Meanwhile, China’s economy showed further signs of improvement in June with a strong pickup in services and construction, even if the latest Chinese PMI print came slightly below expectations. Also overnight, Russia said it withdrew troops from Ukraine’s Snake Island in the Black Sea after Ukraine said its forces drove Russian troops from the area.

In any case, with zero demand from pensions so far (even though the continued selling in stocks and buying in bonds will only make the imabalnce bigger), overnight Nasdaq 100 contracts dropped 1.8% while S&P 500 futures declined 1.3%, and cryptos crumbled, with bitcoin dragged back below $19000 and Ether on the verge of sliding below $1000. The tech-heavy gauge managed to end Wednesday’s trading slightly higher, while the S&P 500 fell for a third straight day. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 1.9%. Treasuries gained, the dollar was steady and gold declined and crude oil futures edged lower again.

Which brings us to the last trading day of a quarter for the history books: the S&P 500 is set for its biggest 1H decline since 1970 and the Nasdaq 100 since 2002, the height of the dot.com bust. The Stoxx 600 is set for the worst 1H since 2008, the height of the GFC. 

Traders have ramped up bets that the global economy will buckle under central bank tightening campaigns -- and that policy makers will eventually backpedal. The bond market shifted to price in a half-point rate cut in the Federal Reserve’s benchmark rate at some point in 2023. On Wednesday, during the annual ECB annual forum, Fed Chair Jerome Powell and his counterparts in Europe and the UK warned inflation is going to be longer lasting. A view that central banks need to act fast on rates because they misjudged inflation has roiled markets this year, with global stocks about to close out their worst quarter since the three months ended March 2020.

“Markets are worried about growth as central bankers continue to emphasize that bringing down inflation is their overriding objective, and that it may take time to bring inflation down,” said Esty Dwek, chief investment officer at Flowbank SA. “We still haven’t seen total capitulation in markets, so further downside is possible.”

Meanwhile, the cost of insuring European junk bonds against default crossed 600 basis points for the first time in two years on Thursday.

And speaking of Europe, stocks are also down over 2% in early trading, with all sectors in the red. DAX and CAC underperform at the margin with autos, consumer discretionary and banking sectors the weakest within the Stoxx 600.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • Uniper shares slump as much as 23% after the German utility withdrew its outlook and said it was discussing a possible bailout from the German government following Russia’s move to curb natural gas deliveries.
  • SAP sinks as much as 6.5% after Exane BNP Paribas downgraded stock to neutral from outperform, saying it sees risks on demand side in the near term as software spending decisions come under increased scrutiny.
  • Sanofi shares decline as much as 4.5% after the French drugmaker said the FDA placed late-stage clinical trials of tolebrutinib on partial hold in US because of concerns about liver injuries.
  • European semiconductor stocks fell, following peers in the US and Asia lower amid growing concerns that the industry might face a downturn soon as chip stockpiles build. ASML drops as much as 3.4%, Infineon -4.1%, STMicro -3.1%
  • Norsk Hydro shares slide as much as 6% amid metals decline and as DNB cuts the stock to sell from hold, citing concerns about rising aluminum supply.
  • Stainless steel stocks in Europe fall, with Morgan Stanley saying the settlement on the latest ferrochrome benchmark missed its expectations. Outokumpu shares down as much as 6.6%, Aperam -7.2%, Acerinox -4%
  • Saab shares jump as much as 8.4%, after getting an order worth SEK7.3b from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration for GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft.
  • Orsted shares rise as much as 2.5%, before paring some of the gains. HSBC raises to buy from hold, saying any further downside for the wind farm operator looks limited.
  • Bunzl shares rise as much as 2.6% after the specialist distribution company said it now expects very good revenue growth in 2022.
  • Grifols shares rise as much as 7.8% after slumping on Wednesday, as the company says that the board isn’t analyzing any capital increase “for the time being.”

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell for a second day as tech-heavy indexes in Taiwan and South Korea continued to get pummeled amid concerns over the potential for aggressive monetary tightening in the US to rein in inflation.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 1.2%, dragged down by technology shares including TSMC, Alibaba and Tencent. Taiwan slid more than 2%, while gauges in Japan, South Korea, Australia dropped more than 1%.  Stocks in mainland China rose more than 1% after the economy showed further signs of improvement in June with a strong pickup in services and construction as Covid outbreaks and restrictions were gradually eased. Traders are also watching Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Hong Kong, his first time outside of the mainland since 2020. 

Asian stocks are struggling to recover from a May low as the threat of higher US rates outweighs China’s emergence from strict Covid lockdowns and its pledge of stimulus measures. While mainland Chinese stocks led gains globally this month, the rest of the markets in the region -- especially those heavy with technology stocks and exporters -- saw hefty outflows of foreign funds.  “Investors continue to assess recession and also inflation risks,” Marcella Chow, JPMorgan Asset Management’s global market strategist, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “This tightening path has actually increased the chance of a slower economic growth going forward and probably has brought forward the recession risks.” Asian stocks are set to post a more than 12% loss this quarter, the worst since the one ended March 2020 during the pandemic-induced global market rout.

Japanese stocks declined after the release of China’s data on manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs that showed slower than expected improvements.  The Topix Index fell 1.2% to 1,870.82 as of market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei declined 1.5% to 26,393.04. Sony Group contributed the most to the Topix Index decline, falling 3.4%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 531 rose and 1,574 fell, while 65 were unchanged. “Although China is recovering from a lockdown, business sentiment in the manufacturing industry is deteriorating around the world,” said Tomo Kinoshita, global market strategist at Invesco Asset Management China’s Economy Shows Signs of Improvement as Covid Eases.

Indian stock indexes posted their biggest quarterly loss since March 2020 as the global equity market stays rattled by high inflation and a weakening outlook for economic growth.  The S&P BSE Sensex ended little changed at 53,018.94 in Mumbai on Thursday, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 0.1%. The gauges shed more than 9% each in the June quarter, their biggest drop since the outbreak of pandemic shook the global markets in March 2020. The main indexes have fallen for all but one month this year as surging cost pressures forced India’s central bank to raise rates twice and tighten liquidity conditions. The selloff is also partly driven by record foreign outflows of more than $28b this year.  Despite the turmoil in global markets, Indian stocks have underperformed most Asian peers, partly helped by inflows from local institutions, which made net purchases of more than $30b of local stocks. “Investors worry that the latest show of central bank determination to tame inflation will slow economies rapidly,” HDFC Securities analyst Deepak Jasani wrote in a note.  Fourteen of the 19 sector sub-gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. fell Thursday, with metal stocks leading the plunge. The expiry of monthly derivative contracts also weighed on markets. For the June quarter, metal stocks were the worst performers, dropping 31% while information technology gauge fell 22%. Automakers led the three advancing sectors with 11.3% gain.

Australian stocks also tumbled, with the S&P/ASX 200 index falling 2% to close at 6,568.10, weighed down by losses in mining, utilities and energy stocks.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 10,868.70

In rates, treasuries advanced, led by the belly of the curve. German bonds surged, led by the short-end and outperforming Treasuries. US yields richer by as much as 5.4bp across front-end and belly of the curve which outperforms, steepening 2s10s, 5s30s by 2bp and 2.8bp; wider bull-steepening move in progress for German curve with yields richer by up to 13.5bp across front-end with 2s10s wider by 3.5bp on the day. US 10-year yields around 3.055%, richer by 3.5bp. Money markets aggressively trimmed ECB tightening bets on relief that French June inflation didn’t come in above the median estimate. Bonds also benefitted from haven buying as stocks slide. Month-end extension flows may continue to support long-end of the Treasuries curve. bunds outperform by 7bp in the sector. IG issuance slate empty so far; Celanese Corp. pushed back plans to issue in euros and dollars, most likely to next week, after deals struggled earlier this week. Focal points of US session include PCE deflator and MNI Chicago PMI. 

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was steady as the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers. The yen advanced and Antipodean currencies were steady against the greenback. French inflation quickened to the fastest since the euro was introduced. Steeper increases in energy and food costs drove consumer-price growth to 6.5% in June from 5.8% in May . Sweden’s krona swung to a loss. It briefly advanced earlier after the Riksbank raised its policy rate by 50bps, as expected, signaled faster rate hikes and a quicker trimming of the balance sheet. The pound rose, snapping three days of losses against the dollar. UK household incomes are on their longest downward trend on record, as the nation’s cost of living crisis saps the spending power of British households. Separate figures showed that the current-account deficit widened sharply to £51.7 billion ($63 billion) in the first quarter. The yen rose and the Japan’s bonds inched up. The BOJ kept the amount and frequencies of planned bond purchases unchanged in the July-September period. The Australian dollar reversed a loss after data showed China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index rose above 50 for the first time since February in a sign of improvement in the world’s second largest economy.

Bitcoin is on track for its worst quarter in more than a decade, as more hawkish central banks and a string of high-profile crypto blowups hammer sentiment. The 58% drawdown in the biggest cryptocurrency is the largest since the third quarter of 2011, when Bitcoin was still in its infancy, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

In commodities, WTI trades a narrow range, holding below $110. Brent trades either side of $116. Most base metals trade in the red; LME zinc falls 3.1%, underperforming peers. Spot gold falls roughly $3 to trade near $1,814/oz. Bitcoin slumps over 6% before finding support near $19,000.

Looking to the day ahead now, data releases include German retail sales for May and unemployment for June, French CPI for June, the Euro Area unemployment rate for May, Canadian GDP for April, whilst the US has personal income and personal spending for May, the weekly initial jobless claims, and the MNI Chicago PMI for June.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 1.2% to 3,775.75
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 1.8% to 406.18
  • MXAP down 1.0% to 158.01
  • MXAPJ down 1.1% to 524.78
  • Nikkei down 1.5% to 26,393.04
  • Topix down 1.2% to 1,870.82
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.6% to 21,859.79
  • Shanghai Composite up 1.1% to 3,398.62
  • Sensex up 0.2% to 53,136.59
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 2.0% to 6,568.06
  • Kospi down 1.9% to 2,332.64
  • Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,814.91
  • US Dollar Index little changed at 105.04
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.42%
  • Euro little changed at $1.0443
  • Brent Futures down 0.4% to $115.85/bbl

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • The surge in the dollar has set Asian currencies on course for their worst quarter since the 1997 financial crisis and created a dilemma for central bankers
  • French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the EU can deliver the global minimum corporate tax with or without the support of Hungary, circumventing Budapest’s veto earlier this month just as the bloc was on the brink of a agreement
  • German unemployment unexpectedly rose, snapping 15 straight months of decline as refugees from the war in Ukraine were included in those searching for work
  • The SNB bought foreign exchange worth 5.7 billion francs ($5.96 billion) in the first quarter of 2022 as the franc sharply appreciated against the euro and briefly touched parity in March
  • The ECB plans to ask the region’s lenders to factor in the economic hit of a potential cut off of Russian gas when considering payouts to shareholders
  • European stocks were poised for their biggest drop in any half-year period since 2008, as investors focused on the prospects for economic slowdown and stubbornly high inflation in the region
  • New Zealand will enter a recession next year that could be deeper than expected, Bank of New Zealand economists said after a survey showed business sentiment continues to slump

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks were varied at month-end amid a slew of data releases including mixed Chinese PMIs. ASX 200 was dragged lower by weakness in energy, miners and the top-weighted financials sector. Nikkei 225 declined after disappointing Industrial Production data and with Tokyo raising its virus infection level. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were somewhat mixed with Hong Kong indecisive and the mainland underpinned after the latest Chinese PMI data in which Manufacturing PMI printed below estimates but Non-Manufacturing PMI firmly surpassed forecasts and along with Composite PMI, all returned to expansion territory.

Top Asian News

  • NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said China's growing assertiveness has consequences for the security of allies, while he added China is not our adversary, but we must be clear-eyed about the serious challenges it presents.
  • US blacklisted 5 Chinese firms for allegedly helping Russia in which Connec Electronic, King Pai Technology, Sinno Electronics, Winnine Electronic and World Jetta Logistics were added to the entity list which restricts access to US technology, according to WSJ.
  • Japan's government cut its assessment of industrial production and noted that production is weakening, while it stated that Japan's motor vehicle production declined 8% M/M and that industrial production likely saw the largest impact of Shanghai's COVID-19 lockdown in May, according to Reuters.
  • Tokyo metropolitan government will reportedly increase COVID infections level to the second-highest, according to FNN.

It’s been a downbeat session for global equities thus far as sentiment deteriorates further. European bourses are lower across the board, with losses extending during early European hours. European sectors are all in the red but portray a clear defensive bias. Stateside, US equity futures have succumbed to the glum mood, with the NQ narrowly underperforming.

Top European News

  • Riksbank hiked its Rate by 50bps to 0.75% as expected, and said the rate will be raised further and it will be close to 2% at the start of 2023. Bank said the balance sheet its to shrink faster than previously flagged, and suggested that policy rate will increase faster if needed. Click here for details.
  • Riksbank's Ingves said inflation over forecast probably not enough for Riksbank to hold extra policy meeting in summer. Ingves added that if the situation requires a 75bps hike, then Riksbank will carry out a 75bps hike.
  • Orsted Gains as HSBC Upgrades With Shares Seen ‘Good Value’
  • Aston Martin Extends Losses as Carmaker Reportedly Seeking Funds
  • Climate Litigants Look Beyond Big Oil for Their Day in Court
  • Ukraine Latest: Putin Warns NATO on Moving Military to Nordics

FX

  • DXY extends on gains above 105.00, but could see more upside on safe haven demand and residual rebalancing flows over fixes - EUR/USD inches towards 1.0400 to the downside.
  • Yen regroups as yields drop and risk sentiment deteriorates to compound corrective price action.
  • Franc unwinds some of its recent outperformance and Loonie lose traction from oil ahead of Canadian GDP.
  • Swedish Crown unable to take advantage of hawkish Riksbank hike in face of risk aversion - Eur/Sek stuck in a rut close to 10.7000.
  • Pound finds some underlying bids into 1.2100 and Kiwi at 0.6200, while Aussie holds above 0.6850 with encouragement from China’s services PMI that also propped the Yuan.

Fixed Income

  • Bonds on bull run into month, quarter and half year end - Bunds top 148.00 at best, Gilts approach 113.50 and 10 year T-note just a tick away from 118-00.
  • Debt in demand on safe haven grounds rather than duration as curves steepen on less hawkish/more dovish market pricing.
  • Italian supply comfortably covered to keep BTP futures propped ahead of US PCE data and yet another speech from ECB President Lagarde.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent front-month futures are resilient to the broader risk downturn, and firmer Dollar as OPEC+ member members gear up for what is expected to be a smooth meeting.
  • Spot gold is uneventful but dipped under yesterday's low, with potential support at the 15th June low at USD 1,806.59/oz.
  • Base metals are softer across the board amid the broader risk profile. Dalian and Singapore iron ore futures were on track for quarterly losses.
  • Ship with 7,000 tonnes of grain leaves Ukraine port, according to pro-Russia officials cited by AFP.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: June Initial Jobless Claims, est. 229,000, prior 229,000
  • 08:30: June Continuing Claims, est. 1.32m, prior 1.32m
  • 08:30: May Personal Income, est. 0.5%, prior 0.4%
  • 08:30: May Personal Spending, est. 0.4%, prior 0.9%
  • 08:30: May Real Personal Spending, est. -0.3%, prior 0.7%
  • 08:30: May PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.2%
  • 08:30: May PCE Deflator YoY, est. 6.4%, prior 6.3%
  • 08:30: May PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 4.8%, prior 4.9%
  • 08:30: May PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.3%
  • 09:45: June MNI Chicago PMI, est. 58.0, prior 60.3

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

We’ve just released the results of our monthly EMR survey that we conducted at the start of the week. It makes for some interesting reading, and we’re now at the point where 90% of respondents are expecting a US recession by end-2023, which is up from just 35% in our December survey. That echoes our own economists’ view that we’re going to get a recession in H2 2023, and just shows how sentiment has shifted since the start of the year as central banks have begun hiking rates. When it comes to people’s views on where markets are headed next, most are expecting many of the themes from H1 to continue, with a 72% majority thinking that the S&P 500 is more likely to fall to 3,300 rather than rally to 4,500 from current levels, whilst 60% think that Treasury yields will hit 5% first rather than 1%. Click here to see the full results.

When it comes to negative sentiment we’ll have to see what today brings us as we round out the first half of the year, but if everything remains unchanged today we’re currently set to end H1 with the S&P 500 off to its worst H1 since 1970 in total return terms. And there’s been little respite from bonds either, with US Treasuries now down by -9.79% since the start of the year, so it’s been bad news for traditional 60/40 type portfolios. Ultimately, a large reason for that has been investors’ fears that ongoing rate hikes to deal with inflation will end up leading to a recession, and yesterday saw a continuation of that theme, with Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey all reiterating their intentions in a panel at the ECB’s Forum to return inflation back to target.

In terms of that panel, there weren’t any major headlines on policy we weren’t already aware of, although there was a collective acknowledgement of the risk that inflation could become entrenched over time and the need to deal with that. Fed Chair Powell described the US economy as in “strong shape”, but one that ultimately requires much tighter financial conditions to bring inflation back to target. Year-end fed funds expectations remained steady in response, down just -0.7bps to 3.45%. However, further out the curve the simmering slower growth narrative continued to grip markets and sent 10yr Treasury yields -8.2bps lower to 3.09%, and the 2s10s another -1.1bps flatter to 4.7bps. In line with a tighter Fed policy path and slower growth, 10yr breakevens drove the move in nominal yields, falling -8.2bps to 2.39%, their lowest levels since January, having entirely erased the gains seen after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when it peaked above 3% at one point in April. Along with 2s10s flattening, the Fed’s preferred measure of the near-term risk of recession, the forward spread (the 18m3m – 3m), similarly flattened by -5.7bps, hitting its lowest level in nearly four months at 154bps. And thismorning there’s only been a partial reversal of these trends, with 10yr Treasury yields (+1.3bps) edging back up to 3.10% as we go to press. Over in equities, the S&P 500 bounced around but finished off of its intraday lows with just a -0.07% decline, again with the macro view likely skewed by quarter-end rebalancing of portfolios. The NASDAQ was similarly little changed on the day, falling a mere -0.03%.

In terms of the ECB, President Lagarde said on that same panel that she didn’t think “we are going back to that environment of low inflation” that was present before the pandemic. But when it came to the actual data yesterday there was a pretty divergent picture. On the one hand, Spain’s CPI for June surprised significantly on the upside, with the annual inflation rising to +10.0% (vs. +8.7% expected) on the EU’s harmonised measure. But on the other, the report from Germany then surprised some way beneath expectations, coming in at +8.2% on the EU-harmonised measure (vs. +8.8% expected). So mixed messages ahead of the flash CPI print for the entire Euro Area tomorrow.

As in the US, there was a significant rally in European sovereign bonds, with yields on 10yr bunds (-10.7bps), OATs (-10.7bps) and BTPs (-16.0bps) all moving lower on the day. Equities also lost significant ground amidst the risk-off tone, and the STOXX 600 shed -0.67% as it caught up with the US losses from the previous session. That risk-off tone was witnessed in credit as well, where iTraxx Crossover widened +21.5bps to a post-pandemic high. At the same time, there were further concerns in Europe on the energy side, with natural gas futures up by +8.06% to a three-month high of €139 per megawatt-hour, which follows a reduction in capacity yesterday at Norway’s Martin Linge field because of a compressor failure.

Whilst monetary policy has been the main focus for markets lately, we did get some headlines on the fiscal side yesterday too, with a report from Bloomberg that Senate Democrats were working on an economic package that had smaller tax increases in order to reach a deal with moderate Democratic senator Joe Manchin. For reference, the Democrats only have a majority in the split 50-50 senate thanks to Vice President Harris’ tie-breaking vote, so they need every Democrat Senator on board in order to pass legislation. According to the report, the plan would be worth around $1 trillion, with half allocated to new spending, and the other half cutting the deficit by $500bn over the next decade.

Overnight in Asia we’ve seen a mixed market performance overnight. Most indices are trading lower, including the Nikkei (-1.45%) and the Kospi (-0.81%), but Chinese equities have put in a stronger performance after an improvement in China’s PMIs in June, and the CSI 300 (+1.62%) and the Shanghai Comp (+1.31%) have both risen. That came as manufacturing activity expanded for the first time in four months, with the PMI up to 50.2 in June (vs. 50.5 expected) from 49.6 in May. At the same time, the non-manufacturing climbed to 54.7 points in June, up from 47.8 in May, which also marked the first time it’d been above the 50 mark since February.

Nevertheless, that positivity among Chinese equities are proving the exception, with equity futures in the US and Europe pointing lower, with those on the S&P 500 (-0.28%) looking forward to a 4th consecutive daily decline as concerns about a recession persist.

When it came to other data yesterday, the third estimate of US GDP for Q1 saw growth revised down to an annualised contraction of -1.6% (vs. -1.5% second estimate). Separately, the Euro Area’s M3 money supply grew by +5.6% year-on-year in May (vs. +5.8% expected), which is the slowest pace since February 2020.

To the day ahead now, data releases include German retail sales for May and unemployment for June, French CPI for June, the Euro Area unemployment rate for May, Canadian GDP for April, whilst the US has personal income and personal spending for May, the weekly initial jobless claims, and the MNI Chicago PMI for June.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 07:58

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Eurodollar Futures Interpretation Is Everywhere

Consumer confidence in Germany never really picked up all that much last year. Conflating CPIs with economic condition, this divergence proved too big…

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Consumer confidence in Germany never really picked up all that much last year. Conflating CPIs with economic condition, this divergence proved too big of a mystery. When the German GfK, for example, perked up only a tiny bit around September and October 2021, the color of consumer prices clouded judgement and interpretation of what had always been a damning situation.

From GfK back then:

The growing consumer optimism signals that consumers here consider the German economy on course for recovery, although the momentum is somewhat more moderate than expected a few months ago. A stable labor market also contributes significantly to the high level of economic expectations.

The words just don’t match the data; when the quote above was written and released, the headline estimate for consumer sentiment in Germany had just ticked above zero for the first time since the coronavirus debacle in 2020.

Sounds terrific, but that wasn’t really meaningful, just another technically-correct phrase which only agreed with the inflation narrative on its narrowest surface. The index remained well below each and every pre-2020 estimate.


It has been (widely) assumed this was only temporary, that Germany’s then-accelerating consumer price indices represented a true picture of recovery, if only too much of one. From that, you’d presume normality just a few more months ahead.

On the contrary, it’s been downhill – way downhill – ever since. And the downslope began months before Russia went foraging for Ukrainian luster. In other words, as consumer (and producer) prices in Germany started their current climb, consumer confidence reversed into what is today an epic collapse – not only the GfK.

Like Americans, Germans have never been more pessimistic. As of today’s forecast for the month of July, GfK has it a record low.

What happened to “high level of economic expectations?” Complete and total mirage, mainstream pundits and the like convincing themselves that “stimulus” works, that CPIs are a result of economic activity rather than gross imbalances, ultimately the failure to see the world as it had truly been.

The entire global economy never recovered, not even close, and then the full weight of the worldwide supply shock (because it wasn’t American “money printing”) slammed down before Putin went full-on stupid.


Just as the hapless ECB begins to grow hawkish wings (I am very close to retracting my apology to Ms. Lagarde, though not entirely surprising), Europe’s economy falls apart. That region’s “inflation” was always going to be “transitory”, too, even if most people don’t have the patience to wait more than a year for it to be fulfilled.

The day’s other “shocking” news was Germany’s HICP advance for June 2022. It fell month-over-month; dropped, declined. The headline CPI, which is calculated a little differently from the harmonized HICP, gained only 0.1% month-over-month.

This could be nothing more than short-term noise, just as the situation had been last November the last time the CPI gained so little on a monthly basis. But that’s the thing; there’s a vast difference between now and last November, as German consumers will attest.

When consumer prices rebounded December and after, consumers weren’t yet so downtrodden. They are now, and then some.


And not just consumers, business expectations are falling fast, too, which only threatens the labor market Europe-wide; planet-wide.

To that end, Germany’s deStatis put the preliminary June year-over-year CPI gain at 7.6% compared to 7.9% during May. That was the other “shock”, an actual decelerating annual rate which had been widely expected (consensus was 8.0%) to further rise. This despite a god-awful, economy-crushing 38% year-over-year increase and contribution from energy (and 12.7% y/y for food).

Services prices were the primary reason, a huge macro uh-oh for all those inflation hawks to now digest. Except maybe the ECB which is following Jay Powell’s path toward yet another embarrassing turnaround.

Time will tell whether or not Europe or Germany’s June price reading proves temporary, or it actually does represent the start of the other side of supply shock transitory.

We know which way markets are currently betting globally. All those out there who said you couldn’t rely on especially the Treasury market because the Fed bought bonds during its QE’s, somehow spoiling and tainting good, relevant, validated information. Now these disbelievers are seeing their flippant (frankly irrational) dismissals of the curve thrown right back at them by the current flood of uniformly gross data.

Add the growing prospect for falling CPIs Europe and beyond, no rate hikes ever required.

But it had never been just USTs, had it? That’s what the Fed (Lagarde) Cult would also attempt, to limit their scope to just Treasuries while leaving unexplained how and why Treasuries were thoroughly corroborated up and down the market spectrum. Even by what were not too long ago the darlings of “store of value” “inflation” protection, crypto and real estate.

Digital currency prices started downward around October and November, too. Random coincidence? Not a chance.

I mean, that’s also exactly when eurodollar futures flattened into inversion.


The whole thing has been corroborated from one side to the next, from top to bottom, across geographical boundaries and from one market to another. This data is just confirming what has been increasingly priced in for over a year.

That’s the thing now, though. Markets have moved on from “if” and “when” to now “how bad.” Eurodollar futures, much more difficult to try to impeach (especially given history, recent history), inverted in whites at the December 2022 contract says Jay Powell is nearing certainty to get embarrassed this year. We can easily infer what that would mean for the ECB and Christine Lagarde (maybe just maybe, depending on timing, sparing her the same humiliation).

What would it take across the global system to turn Jay Powell from ultra-hawk (ostrich) to rate cutting dove? And do it in a matter of months!

The data we see here would be a start. But it’s not just here, it is everywhere.

Irony of irony, GfK stands for Growth from Knowledge. Here now, neither.

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